Scientists have unraveled the mystery of the glass structure




Scientists have unraveled the mystery of the glass structure

For the first time scientists have mapped the structure of the metallic glass at the atomic level, which brought them to understand where it ends and begins the liquid solid in glass.

A study conducted by Monash University and published in Physical Review Letters, is based on the recently developed technique of one of the most accurate electron microscopes with the highest resolution available. The subject of the study – the structure of the metallic glass based on zirconium (Zr). The results can explain the mystery of how a glass or disordered solids.

We use glass everywhere, but very few are making brilliant progress in the development of this remarkable material. In the process of forming a liquid glass melt becomes a solid at various points but becomes viscous, yet obtains rigidity. When formed crystalline solids – such as graphite, salt and diamonds – they suddenly become stiff because the atoms form a periodic structure of the familiar. Glass will never form an ordered atomic lattice, while maintaining a disordered structure of the liquid, in spite of the hardness.

Such a disordered structure gives the unique properties of the glass. Metallic glasses have a high strength to weight ratio than aluminum and titanium alloys, and is therefore a very promising material for constructions in bio-and microelectromechanical systems.

Dr. Amelia Liu School of Physics, Monash University and Monash Centre electron microscopy with a group of researchers found that the structure of zirconium glass is not accidental, but is made ​​effectively positioned 13-atom icosahedral clusters.

In icosahedron 20 faces, 12 vertices and 12 pentasyllabic symmetry axes and hence it can not be packed in an ordered three-dimensional crystalline structure.

“Long assumed icosahedrons key atomic structures are based metallic glass may underlie the formation of glass. We got the first experimental confirmation of this fact. Our results point the way to understanding how the glass changes from a liquid state to a solid – solving a major problem in modern condensed matter physics. ”

Researchers have developed a new technique of electron scattering. By analyzing the diffraction patterns in the nanoscale volumes of glass, the scientists were able to identify the symmetry of the atomic clusters in separate zirconium glass. Previous methods could not provide enough detail for analysis.

Dr. Liu noted that the new technique can be used for understanding the structure of other glasses and promote progress in the study of disordered materials.
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